Greg's Alu Masala
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I have the original of this recipe from “A little taste of India”, a cookbook I bought for $6.98 in San Francisco airport in May 2006. I was quite happy to find a good, cheap book, since I had been looking in vain in Australia for something like this for some time. As a result, it's all the more amusing to note that this book was published in Australia.

The ingredients in this recipe are pretty much exactly as in the original (that's a recommendation for the book; normally I find a lot of things I need to change). I've changed the procedure, however, to suit my equipment. In particular, I blend onions, garlic and ginger with oil, so that they make a consistent puree. The oil then serves for frying the ingredients, so no more should be needed.

Serves 4


quantity       ingredient       step
40 ml       oil       1, 2
7 g       ginger       1
20 g       green chillies       1
200 g       onions       1
5 g       black mustard seeds       2
500 g       waxy potatoes       3
250 ml       water       4
10 g       salt       4
5 g       ground turmeric       4
10 - 30       curry leaves       4
20 ml       tamarind purée       5


  1. Seed the chilies if desired. Chop the ginger into medium-sized pieces (it will help the blender chop it). Blend the onion, ginger in a blender with just enough oil to make a thick purée. If the mixture is too thick to blend properly, add as little water as possible.

  2. Heat very little oil in a heavy-based frying pan, add the mustard seeds. Cover. When they start to pop, add the spice mixture and cook uncovered on low heat, stirring constantly, until the onion has dried out and the oil starts to separate.

  3. While waiting for the onion mixture, chop the potatoes into cubes about 1 to 1.5 cm on a side.

    The original recipe recommends 2 cm. I think this is far too large.

  4. Add the water to the mixer jug and turn on briefly to remove the rest of the onion mixture. When the onion is dry, add the potato cubes, water, salt, turmeric and curry leaves to the pan. Bring to the boil, cover and cook until the potato is tender and almost breaking up. If there is any liquid left in the pan, simmer, uncoverd, until it evaporates. If the potato isn't cooked and there is no liquid left, add a little more and continue to cook.

  5. Just before serving, add the tamarind purée and check seasoning.

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